Chaos & Change - Part 5 -HR. Part of the problem...

I admit it. I have a permanent negative bias for HR departments. They should be part of the solution, but they aren't. They are controlling where they need to be open. They are obstructionists where they should be enabling. They are restrictive where they should be expansive.

This post is one of a continuing series on the factors I see contributing to the debilitating chaos and waste in our working lives, no matter if in the private, public or non-profit worlds. Waste is a terrible thing to endure. If our organizations are to be effective in the 21st century, pervasive change needs to occur. For the start of the series see "Part 1-Chaos and Failure are Brothers" and continue through the series. I think you will find something which hits home for you and your organization. At that point it is up to you to start affecting the change needed in your world-take responsibility, move ahead.

In a recent blog post by Mike Cook entitled, "Is SHRM Fiddling While HR Goes Down in Flames?" he asks some really good questions about the current mindset of HR departments.
"In the course of my work I have many occasions to address local gatherings of HR professionals and am confounded by the lack of urgency I see towards the development of what seems to me the number one issue facing organizations, significantly improved capabilities in the acquisition, development and retention of the necessary talent for the business they are a part of."
I agree wholeheartedly with Mike. What is going on with HR in general? Have they been asleep in their little cocoons for the last 5 years? Have they even seen the transformations taking place in their companies which reward exploration, innovation and multidisciplinary involvement? Apparently not. While their house is burning, they continue to fiddle the tunes of the 1990's and have seemingly missed the 21st century transformations since 2006.

The chaos they contribute to an organization adds to the "Stupid Index" (my interpretation) of their companies they are supposed to be serving. Instead of contributing, they are distracting and compartmentalizing the efforts of their constituents they are called to serve. If I sound like I'm on a ran, I guess I am. I loathe the continued waste on the scale HR groups usually contribute to a company, when they could be a strategic contributor, rather than a tactical obstacle. Apparently those who know this subject much better than I and have recently reported their findings which supports the real life experiences I've had with HR groups. Both the Boston Consulting group and McKinsey are respected companies who measure their findings and support their positions with hard research.

When they find little or no change in HR departments over the past five years in meeting the changing market conditions of the organizations they supposedly serve, it supports the continuing mountain of evidence building that today's organizations are in dire need to shed old and ineffective action and thinking and replace it with more agile and responsive organizations. Permanent Change Management is needed, now.

My thanks to Mike for writing such a revealing and on point post. Hopefully, some CEOs and HR directors will awaken to the burning timbers around them, get the fire out and rebuild a new house which is really a responsive representative of their constituent stakeholders.

This is a continuing series of articles as a Connection about Chaos and Change Management in the workplace. Other ideas here include Lean, Agile and Management 2.0 management theory as applied to complex or wicked problems. 

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